Flashes sweep Warriors Archrival Cathedral on tap for St. Aloysius

Published 12:15 am Sunday, May 9, 2010

St. Aloysius pitcher Ryno Martin-Nez sat most of baseball season after tearing the MCL and ACL in his right knee during football and the only pitching he had done was a few 30-pitch bullpen sessions.

Going into Saturday’s Game 2 with Nanih Waiya, he got the start and the senior turned back the clock, filling up the strike zone in a stellar six-inning effort to pace the Flashes to an 8-1 victory at Bazinsky Field.

“We talked to him before about just working on his mechanics, throwing strikes and keeping it low in the zone,” St. Al coach Clint Wilkerson said. “He did a good job of that. We had to get him out there, because we knew if we want to win another one, he has to be a factor on the mound for us.”

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The Flashes (18-7) swept the series after winning Friday and will face archrival Cathedral in Natchez in the South State championship series starting on Thursday.

After getting an 80-pitch, four-hit complete-game effort from senior ace Stephen Evans in an 11-3 victory in Game 1, the Flashes got another stout, economical performance on the mound. Martin-Nez threw 87 pitches, scattering five hits and striking out six while walking just one. Reed Evans struck out the final three Warriors he faced in the seventh to complete the sweep.

Before the game, catcher Brendan Beesley saw Martin-Nez loft a few wild ones over his head in warmups, but when the first Warrior batter strolled into the box, he was locked in with a well-placed fastball and a changeup that missed bats. He yielded back-to-back singles to start the contest, but he got an easy flyout and struck out Hunter Swart to quell the Warriors’ lone serious threat of the contest.

“I think I speak for everybody when I say we couldn’t be prouder of him,” Beesley said. “He had me worried in warmups, but when that batter stepped in, he was just hitting his spots.”

Bolstered by Martin-Nez’s performance, the defense played error-free baseball behind him. As for run support, the offensive supplied Martin-Nez with plenty.

Pierson Waring led off the bottom of the first with a single, stole second and went home on a line shot by Blake Haygood. Martin-Nez singled to put runners on the corner and a wild pitch allowed Haygood to score as the Flashes jumped on top 2-0 after one.

After a couple of scoreless innings, the Flashes finally got a big inning going in the fourth. Stephen Evans singled and eight-hole hitter Judson Gatling rapped a line drive off the wall to drive Evans home. Justin Rushing was beaned by Nanih Waiya pitcher Luke Rosamond and Beesley went opposite field down the first-base line to drive Rushing home. Waring flied out to right to score Beesley.

After the Flashes put another run on the board in the bottom of the fifth off a sacrifice fly by Reed Evans, the Warriors finally retaliated.

The Warriors got on the board off a sacrifice fly by Swart out to center after Martin-Nez yielded back-to-back singles, but, with one out, Haygood gunned down the advancing runner at third to end the inning.

“The main thing for me was just filling up the zone and throwing strikes,” Martin-Nez said. “I knew my defense would play behind me. I felt really, really comfortable.”

The Flashes slammed the door shut at any faint hopes of a rally in the bottom of the sixth.

A walk by Rushing and a single by Beesley put two on for Waring, who tattooed a line drive deep to center off the wall to score Rushing. Beesley scored on a sacrifice fly by Haygood to complete the scoring for St. Al.

“I was proud of our guys for coming back today and competing,” Nanih Waiya coach Tyler Rogers said. “A few mistakes, here and there, and we could have made this a closer game. The bottom line was we just didn’t hit the baseball.”